When a town is as visually stunning as this, it’s worth putting on your radar. We were captivated with the South African coastal town of Hermanus the minute that we set foot at the Birkenhead House, a luxury boutique hotel overlooking Walker Bay. To be honest, we hardly left our pampered lives there but for a long, drawn-out morning exploring the town where charming eateries, art galleries and boutiques sit steps away from the rugged coastline. Hermanus is one of those towns with an utter charm that the residents have almost certainly fought to retain. As born and bred Californians, the most apt comparison for us is to California’s Central Coast, and I don’t think that’s a far stretch. There’s the quaintness, charm and artsiness that you find in the affluent towns of the central coast, plus there’s that rugged coastline and terrain that’s synonymous with places like Big Sur. Despite the sun, the wind is crisp if not a bit biting, and you’ll still see the dedicated – and perhaps a bit crazy – surfers out there in bone-chilling temps ready to catch the next wave. Plus you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to take in the view with a locally produced glass of wine. Are the comparisons getting you yet? Add to that the fact that there’s exceptional whale watching right off the coast (we saw one during our walk!) and world-famous shark cage diving a short drive away in the town of Gansbaai. Perhaps one of the biggest bonuses with Hermanus is that it’s in South Africa which means the relative value is through the roof when you do a cost comparison of eats, drinks and activities in Hermanus vs. its Western counterparts. Not sold yet? I’ll let these photos do the talking.
Hermanus, you had me at hello.